NFL Week 3: Over & Under Reactions

By Steve Moyse

When Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce’s first ‘couple appearance’ isn’t the only thing dominating headlines in the NFL, you know it’s been one hell of a week.

With the Dolphins’ near record-breaking offense, a big-time Packers’ comeback and the Bills’ suffocating defense, week 3 hit so hard that it quite literally knocked a Jets’ fan’s teeth out!

Now though, it’s time to get our teeth into this week’s over and under-reactions.

Overreaction: The Cardinals Are A Dark Horse If Kyler Murray Is Healthy

Embed from Getty Images

After taking down the seemingly unstoppable Cowboys in week 3, the Cardinals have flipped the script following a disastrous 2022 season – leaving many wondering just how good this team could be with a healthy Kyler Murray.

Now don’t get me wrong, Kyler is an unbelievable talent, but there’s an argument here that with him on the field, this team might not improve as much as you’d think.

So far this season, the Cardinals surprisingly impressive performances have come thanks to an elite game-plan and solid run game.

In other words, the kind of offense that the Cardinals are beginning to find success with, is one that requires the QB to: do his homework, put the ball where it needs to be and avoid turning it over – nothing more, nothing less.

Through 3 weeks, that’s exactly what QB Josh Dobbs has done, completing 72% of his throws and throwing 0 interceptions.

Considering Kyler’s problem has always been his lack of preparation, to the degree the Cardinals had to put a ‘homework clause’ into his contract, it could be argued that Kyler Murray’s more unpredictable playing style isn’t necessarily what the Cardinals need in 2023.

Overreaction: Sean Payton Bit Off More Than He Could Chew With The Broncos

Heading into 2023, Sean Payton was seen as the man to get Russ cooking again and reignite this Broncos team. 3 weeks later and Payton sits at a very painful 0-3 having just given up 70 points to the Dolphins.

While I can completely understand the belief that the Super Bowl winning HC has bitten off more than he can chew, I do think it’s worth reframing how we look at things before overreacting.

Payton’s contract with the Broncos is for 5 years, not 1. Despite his confident remarks in the off-season, he clearly knew that this wasn’t going to be a quick-fix when he signed.

With this is mind, we can now look at the first half of year 1 as an evaluation period for Payton: Why isn’t Russ playing like he did in Seattle? Why has the talent on this defense allowed 16 touchdowns and only forced 5 punts?

After a rough few years, Broncos’ fans wanting immediate results is completely fair – but with a little patience, I have every faith that the latter half of the season will see major improvements.

Overreaction: The Dolphins And Mike McDaniel Putting Up 70 Points Was Disrespectful

There is an unspoken rule between Coaches in the NFL. When a game becomes overwhelmingly one-sided, it’s understood that the winning Coach will make every effort not to completely humiliate the opposition by running up the score.

Ignoring this rule, can leave you in a lot of people’s bad-books. Just ask Bill Belichick, who in 2021 received heavy criticism for authorising a 78 yard drive in the 4th quarter to top off a 41 point victory over the Jets.

After beating the Broncos 70-20 on Sunday night, Mike McDaniel is experiencing the same kind of backlash, with many claiming that the score line shows a level of disrespect from the 2nd year HC.

But what else was McDaniel meant to do? After the 3rd quarter ended at 56-13, he immediately brought out 90% of offensive starters, including star QB Tua Tagovailoa. Further still, even when he had the chance to claim the NFL record for most points in a single game (72) he chose to take a knee rather than kick the Field Goal.

McDaniel and the Dolphins made every effort to avoid humiliating the Broncos, despite having the firepower to do exactly that.

Under-reaction: Quentin Johnston's Big Opportunity

After struggling to get going through 3 weeks, a season-ending injury to Mike Williams was the last thing anyone attached to the Chargers organisation needed.

However, for rookie WR Quentin Johnston the next man-up nature of the NFL provides him with a huge opportunity. One which, I believe, many people are under-reacting to.

When Johnston was drafted with the 21st pick of this year’s draft, his 6 foot 4, 215 lbs frame and deep-threat ability, immediately drew comparisons to Mike Williams. It only then make sense that Johnston is first in line to take on Williams’ role as both Justin Herbert’s big-bodied target and Keenan Allen’s other half.

While Johnston is yet to play more than 25% of offensive snaps, a struggling Raiders’ secondary should offer plenty of chances for Johnston to show-off the explosiveness that made him a first round pick, in his first game filling Williams’ shoes.

Under-reaction: Joe Tippman's Debut

Embed from Getty Images

I think I speak for Jets’ fans worldwide when I say that this week’s offensive performance was definitely one to forget – with Zach Wilson showing everyone why he’s ranked 34th out of 32 starting QB’s.

All told, it’s very hard to find any positives to take away from Week 3 for the Jets. However, the quiet brilliance of Rookie IOL Joe Tippman, in what was his debut game, could offer at least some excitement.

Against a very strong Patriots Defense, Tippman faced 42 pass blocking snaps and didn’t allow a single pressure – earning him an 85.6 pass blocking grade to sit alongside a 70.4 run blocking grade from PFF.

Throughout the first 2 weeks of the season, the Jets had the worst ranked O-Line in the NFL. After an injury to starting LT Duane Brown prompted Tippman’s promotion, the unit then put together their best performance to date, in week 3.

If Joe Tippman, and this re-shuffled Offensive Line, can build on this performance there might still be hope for the Jets this season.

Under-reaction: Joey Porter's Dominance

This off-season Pittsburgh made a point of strengthening their secondary, bringing in 8x Pro Bowl CB Patrick Peterson to join FS Minkah Fitzpatrick and CB Levi Wallace.

Even with the stars in this group limiting his playing time, Rookie CB Joey Porter Jr’s impact on the Steelers’ defense is something to behold so far in 2023.

Over the first 3 weeks of the season, Porter Jr has allowed only 1 reception for 5 yards, despite seeing 5 targets on 45 coverage snaps – that’s a passer rating of only 39.6!

Per NFLRookieWatch, opposing Quarterbacks would have the same passer rating if they were to throw the ball into the ground rather than throw toward Porter Jr.

As of right now, the Steelers lead the AFC North sitting at 2-1. With a run of games that they should expect to win coming up, fans are begging for Porter Jr to be given more of a role in the defensive game plan. Looking at his numbers, you can absolutely see why!

Feature Image Credit: Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Steve Moyse

NFL Analyst

Steve Moyse is a Writer, Podcaster and long suffering New York Jets fan. Stay tuned with his content via Twitter – @steve_moyse